The Importance of Integrity in a Certification Program

At IMA, we’re dedicated to quality and providing the most prestigious management accounting certification in the world: the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant). For more than 40 years, we have been building a professional certification program that is a true reflection of the management accounting profession. And over the years, the standard for earning the CMA has remained high.

I attribute this continuous high standard and respected reputation to the integrity of the CMA exam. An exam has integrity if it’s both valid and reliable, which in turn leads to consistent outcomes. When professionals pass an exam—and earn a certification—that has integrity, they have more confidence in their day-to-day work, and employers identify them as experts in the field.

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THE CMA’S INTEGRITY…

To earn the CMA, professionals need to pass the challenging two-part exam, fulfill an educational requirement, and meet an experience requirement. In addition, CMAs commit to the ethical standards in the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice and an annual continuing education requirement.

To ensure the CMA validates competence in the in-demand skills needed by management accountants, we regularly update the questions and the content specification outline to reflect the most current knowledge and skill requirements.

These high standards advance the management accounting profession and the careers of those working in the field. A certification with high standards of integrity and trust is a signal to employers that you’ve taken and passed a rigorous exam and sets you apart from your peers.

 

…INCREASES YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

comp_advantThroughout the years, we’ve ensured an unwavering attention to integrity by using robust processes to ensure the questions on the CMA exam are psychometrically reliable, ensuring strong internal controls at testing centers, and committing to continuous improvement.

In addition, we haven’t grandfathered anyone into the CMA program, meaning that every professional holding the CMA has taken an exam, and no one has earned our designation by simply writing a check.

Adding those three letters to the end of your name shows employers that you have taken a rigorous, relevant, and trusted exam and have the skills necessary to drive business performance. Employers see you as a trusted business partner.

 

…IMPROVES YOUR CAREER

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Investing in your career really pays off. Not only do CMAs earn an average of 61% more in total annual compensation than their noncertified peers, but they also enjoy faster advancement opportunities and employer recognition.

When you start searching for a credential with integrity, make sure you choose the right one for you and your career. Earning a certification with integrity gives you the confidence you need to take your career to the next level. And since the CMA is a global certification, you can take it with you wherever you go.

Nearly 50,000 of your peers in more than 100 countries have earned their CMA. We’re confident that those who have passed the exam have demonstrated competence in the management accounting and financial management skills necessary to perform at a consistently high level.

Written by Dennis Whitney, CMA

 

Related articles:

“The CMA: Rigorous, Relevant, and Trusted”Strategic Finance

“IMA’s 2015 Global Salary Survey” – IMA

How to Become a Stronger Leader

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”Libba Bray

One moment is all it takes to be inspired. That quote from author Libba Bray got me thinking about the people who have inspired change in me over the years and how their leadership qualities have influenced me to become a better leader every day. For me, these three leadership qualities stand out to me as most vital for success:

 

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INTEGRITY

As financial professionals working in business, we agree to abide by the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and trust. Having integrity means you are a trustworthy, reliable, and credible leader, especially in our field. Accountants at all levels must uphold ethical practices to do their jobs the right way or else they face high penalties and damage to their reputation.

There is nothing more important than your brand and your reputation. My positions in industry, where I worked at one of the world’s most trusted companies, taught me that “the good guys” can win in the market—a company that upholds its values will succeed. The collateral damage from a competitor’s fraudulent behavior is real. How you achieve outcomes is as important as the outcomes themselves.

 

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PASSION

Passion is contagious. If you’re passionate about what you do, chances are you’ll inspire others to be passionate, too. Being a passionate—and compassionate—leader shows your employees that you’re invested in them and in the team, always seeking to build followership, as coined by leadership guru John C. Maxwell.

Passion to me is about a genuine, unwavering, and relentless desire to be a stronger family member and businessperson regardless of the status you have achieved. When I joined IMA, coming from a wonderful business career that included being CFO of a multi-billion-dollar operation, I had zero professional certifications. When I saw the passion of IMA’s volunteers for the value of professional certifications, it inspired me to earn the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CAE (Certified Association Executive) credentials. Now I’m even more passionate because I better understand the industry and the work that our members do.

 

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COMMITMENT

Commitment comes in many forms: commitment to projects, people, business relationships, and more. When you lead by example, your team can see that you are committed and are working hard to achieve success. A strong leader should also be committed to being ethical and courageous, always inspiring a culture of challenge. Keep your promises, admit your mistakes, continuously learn, and build a respectful rapport with your team.

I have faced intense competition in my industry positions and at IMA. I have learned that commitment to people, mission, and strategy is key to sustainable success. When times get tough, you really learn who you can count on and how resilient your strategy is. I am a firm believer in FIERCE competition (Focused on mission, Innovative, Entrepreneurial, Respectful, Courageous, and Empathetic).

 

Change, One Moment at a Time

Having integrity, passion, and commitment will build a well-rounded base for being a strong leader. Integrity allows you to uphold your ethical values and build your reputation as a trusted business professional. Exuding genuine passion and commitment for your work fosters a unified, mutually respectful business culture. You can advance the management accounting profession by becoming a stronger leader. It only takes a moment, a gesture, or a person to make a difference.

What or who inspires you to be a better leader?

 

Written by Jeff Thomson

 

Related Articles

“Leading Without a Title” Strategic Finance

“The 9 Traits That Define Great Leadership”Inc.

5 Tips for Your Next Networking Event

As the leader of IMA’s Annual Conference & Expo, I oversee the robust 3.5-day program that includes more than 50 educational sessions, a variety of networking opportunities, “meet and greets” with keynote speakers, and other special attendee events. An important value of our conference, or any in-person business event, is the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals in our field.

If you’re uncomfortable by the idea of networking and approaching people you don’t know, here are some tips you can use at your next conference or in-person business event.

1.    If offered, attend the orientation session for first-time attendees. This will acquaint you with the event’s agenda as well as other attendees in the same position as you. When the time is right, introduce yourself to others.  Some “ice breaking” tips include sharing your name, where you’re from, where you work, and your role. Then ask others those questions, listening carefully for commonalities and differences in your backgrounds. Oftentimes, further conversation occurs naturally after this point and first-timers frequently plan to connect again during or after the event.

2.    Before or after a presentation, start a conversation with someone sitting nearby about the presentation topic. Start out by introducing yourself and asking about his/her interest in the session. If you have specific questions or insights about the session, offer that as further information, or ask how the session relates to his/her job responsibilities or career aspirations.  meeting presenter

3.    After a session that sparks your interest, introduce yourself to the presenter and ask specific questions regarding the concepts covered or how you can obtain more information. Offer your business card so that you can continue sharing material on the topic.

4.    During networking events such as “meet and greets,” group meals, or cocktail parties, seek out individuals who are standing alone, who you haven’t met, or who you’ve met in a prior session. Besides introducing yourself, inquire what sessions he/she has participated in, what his/her impressions were, and what he/she has learned. Share your thoughts also.

5.    Small group activities like conversational roundtables or exhibitor showcases allow for additional one-on-one time with other attendees as well as opportunities to meet with exhibitors to learn about their services. In addition to the above examples, other conversation starters include inquiring about new industry or regulatory events, discussing work challenges you may be experiencing, or learning more about the organization hosting the event to better understand other services of interest to you.

Make It Count

When you feel the conversation has ended, offer to connect on LinkedIn or exchange Businessmen exchanging business cardsbusiness cards. And don’t forget to follow up! Starting and sustaining a conversation with business professionals in your industry is an important way to grow, build your self-confidence, and expand your career horizons. So go ahead and mingle on!

To jumpstart building your networking skills, join us at IMA’s Annual Conference & Expo held in Las Vegas on June 18-22, 2016. Register now for your chance to network with the profession’s top thought leaders and professional colleagues.

Written by Debbie Warner, CPLP

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Why Diversity and Inclusion is Essential for Global Organizations

With changing technology and emerging global markets, it’s common in today’s world to find yourself working with or for people of different cultures and backgrounds. Therefore, the importance of adopting a diverse culture isn’t only a “nice to have” but a “must have” in order to have mutual trust, respect, and understanding of each other and to ultimately serve your members better.

To show how we embrace the various backgrounds of our members, IMA recently created the Diversity Thought Leadership Pipeline Committee, which celebrates the uniqueness of each culture within our membership. As quoted in the Committee’s governance statement, diversity involves establishing an environment where there are equitable opportunities for individuals from various backgrounds to express their thoughts and ideas.

Creating a committee and investing in a diversity and inclusion initiative strengthens an organization’s global position. It makes a statement among members that your organization isn’t only focusing on the needs of members in the U.S. At IMA, we pride ourselves on being a diverse company in a global marketplace.

So what does it take to be considered diverse? Let’s break down the Committee’s governance statement to find out:

“Through the backgrounds and experiences of our global membership base, we gain perspective and insights that impact the strategic and operational direction of our organization.”Innovation-Gears---1

A company that has a diverse, global membership network has a 360-degree view of the industry and the people who work to improve it. Having a broad membership base gives you various perspectives on issues facing your company or industry.

A company environment that fosters diversity also fosters innovation. A diverse staff will undoubtedly propose new, innovative ideas that can expand your company’s overall contribution. Your company will gain valuable insights from members and staff who come from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

“The global governance of IMA acknowledges and embraces the diversity of our membership and considers an inclusive atmosphere essential.”

SpiceStarIt’s important to have a diverse board of directors that represents your stakeholders because you need various opinions to operate as an unbiased organization. When your board members and top management are from different backgrounds, experience, and generations, you’ll better understand the marketplace and what your stakeholders expect from your business. IMA benefits from a diverse board to get input on what products and services should be offered to members from different regions.

“Our global diversity also provides new ideas and alternative perspectives that expand IMA’s contribution to the profession.”

A diverse company offers products, services, and events that appeal to a wide variety of professionals. Knowing your audience—their background, culture, and objectives—is the first step in producing and delivering these offerings. Then work on understanding how your audience likes to receive this information. IMA offers continuing professional education (CPE) credit through many avenues, including live and on-demand webinars and in-person events such as instructor-led courses and conferences. IMA’s Annual Conference & Expo alone includes 50+ sessions about management accounting competencies as well as sessions about soft skills training. Another example is IMA’s Women in Accounting Leadership Series, which is a platform for discussing the issues women face as being a growing part of IMA’s diverse membership.

The Future of Your Organization Depends on Diversity

Similar to other initiatives, global companies can benefit from developing a diversity committee that focuses on developing training programs or other outputs to strengthen cultural awareness among employees and volunteers. Having such a committee or initiative confirms a company’s commitment to global diversity and inclusion by projecting that your organization values the differences in people.

Written by Linda Devonish-Mills, CMA, CPA, CAE

Related Articles

Diversity – The Gift That Keeps on GivingHuffington Post
A Culturally Diverse Workforce Could Be a Boon to Your Business – Entrepreneur

5 Tips For Being a Thought Leader

What does being a thought leader mean to you? For me, it means being seen as the go-to source of information and being a beacon for future generations, whether that be teaching in the classroom or being a mentor in industry. Thought leadership can take many forms, including conducting in-depth research of tomorrow’s trends, publishing thought-provoking articles, and sharing knowledge with others on an individual basis. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up during my career as a professor and as IMA’s vice president of research and policy and professor-in-residence.

1. Stand out from the crowd
It’s important to keep an eye on competitors, but you’ll get more value out of creatingGroup Of Business People Listening To Speaker Giving Presentationdiverse, original material. Whether you’re speaking at an event or to your coworkers, offering relevant, timely, and accurate thought leadership shows that you are invested in your audience and their future. For example, IMA’s research is funded in-house and is authentic, original material.

2. Prove your credibility
Your products need to be credible. Conduct your own research, surveys, or studies andShot of a young female assistant using a tablet with her boss working in the backgroundprove that you’re capable of getting real results—that’s credibility. Also, getting your name out there by publishing articles, presenting at conferences, and speaking at events helps you become more credible. Being a thought leader means you’re the go-to person for information in your industry.

3. Show your passion
If you aren’t passionate about the thought leadership you’re producing, why produce it?  Make sure that what you’re writing, speaking about, or researching is worth your time—because if it isn’t, your audience won’t be passionate about it either. Thought leadership is only valuable if people acknowledge it. Showing your audience that you’re passionate about your work will also increase engagement, both online and offline.

4. Engage your audience
Understanding your audience’s needs will help you produce better and more relevant thought leadership. What do they care about most? You can find out by sending themGreat presentation! Group of happy business people in smart casual wear sitting together at the table and applauding to someonean online survey, or engage with them on social media, at in-person events, or via e-mail or phone calls. This will help you create loyal, long-term stakeholders that follow your thought leadership. In addition, studying the trends will help you plan for future research, publications, or speaking engagements.

5. Pass it on
Students and young professionals are the future of our profession. Passing on knowledge from educator to student, from supervisor to employee, and from peer to peer is an important responsibility of being a thought leader. Knowledge sharing is also one of the best ways to become a thought leader, especially since the growth of the digital landscape has made it a lot easier and quicker to share information.

Be a Thought Leader
Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen over night. It takes time to build your brand and become recognized in your field. IMA has become a thought leader in management accounting over the past 97 years. Our thought-provoking, relevant, and timely publications contribute to our overall success, and it all started with the goal to one day become a thought leader. Anyone can become a thought leader if they’re passionate about and persistent to achieving their goals.

Written by Dr. Raef Lawson, CMA, CPA, CFP, CFA
Follow me on Twitter @RaefLawson

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The CMA: A Global Passport

IMA’s CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification is in high demand by professionals around the world. More than 3,500 professionals earned the CMA in fiscal year 2015 and more than 15,000 accounting and finance professionals entered

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the CMA program. It is a globally recognized certification—a passport—that professionals can take with them from job to job and from country to country. It’s a valued, trusted certification that helps professionals progress in their careers and continue their education throughout their career. Earning the CMA means that you have passed a rigorous test, have met the education and experience requirements, and are committed to continuous learning. When I meet CMAs in my travels, I see two common themes: pride and aspiration.

Pride

CMAs take pride in knowing they add value to their company, whether they’re in Dallas, Dubai, or Shanghai and regardless of whether they work for a local company or a global brand. They recognize and embrace the credential’s integrity, rigor, and relevance. Earning the credential proves to employers your competency and expertise in management accounting and builds your personal brand.

I recently spoke about the CMA program at several IMA events in the Middle East. I was excited by the participants’ response and level of interest in the CMA credential. Many participants approached me after the session to learn more about enrolling in the program. This shows how the global recognition of the CMA has grown and continues to grow.

Aspiration

The CMA also helps change the lives of individuals both in terms of their career growth and their financial opportunities. Not only do CMAs earn more annual salary and compensation than their noncertified peers, but they’re also seen as Group of people on a seminar. Focus is on business woman receiving a certificate from a lecturer. [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786622][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/business.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786738][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/group.jpg[/img][/url]well-respected business leaders who help shape the management accounting profession through their valuable knowledge and skill set. CMAs work in jobs that are interesting—analytical business partners supporting decisions that help organizations grow.

 

Professionals in the CMA program aspire to be Corporate Controllers, CFOs, and even CEOs of their companies, and they know that the CMA can advance their career. The CMA program is a career-long journey of continuous education, requiring CMAs to stay current on business trends and best practices in management accounting through earning continuing professional education (CPE) credits. Each year, CMAs are required to earn 30 CPE credits, including two in ethics training, to maintain the credential.

Enrich Your Career

Continuing education is vital for career progression. Therefore, earning specialized credentials, like the CMA, will help you advance your career and achieve your professional goals. Like a passport, the CMA opens up global opportunities, so get out there and expand your horizons.

Written by Dennis Whitney, CMA, CFM, CAE
Follow me on Twitter: @IMA_DWhitney

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My Road to Accounting

As IMA’s senior vice president of operations and CFO, I oversee the strategic planning process; the information technology, finance, facilities, and human resources departments; and other operational aspects of IMA. My responsibilities mirror “the expanding role of the CFO,” a role that IMA and others have written much about. Like  many CFOs, I have a strong background in accounting, but each of us has a unique journey. I haven’t always followed the traditional accounting path.

From English to Accounting

When I entered college, English literature was my passion, but I wasn’t really sure what direction my career would take. My husband and I moved several times in the early years of our marriage in support of his career as a racehorse trainer. We relied on professional tax and accounting services to run the business. When we discovered that our tax advisor had made a serious error, I decided to enter the MBA program at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, to learn enough accounting and tax so that we would never be at the mercy of others to do that work for us. I knew I needed to understand the world of finance for self-preservation, and I discovered that the study of business was a new passion.

I landed a job as a staff accountant with Ernst and Whinney (now Ernst and Young) in Alberta, Canada, and convinced my husband to move his stable there. But, after two years in Alberta, it became clear that his talents belonged in the larger U.S. market. So we relocated to New Jersey. Our family had grown—we have three children—and, as much as I loved public accounting, I had to abandon that track to establish an acceptable work-life balance. I was very fortunate to land great jobs with progressively more responsibility.

A decade later, with a well-rounded accounting education, public accounting experience, and several years of controllership, I found myself searching for a new position when the company I worked for was sold. It was clear that I needed professional certification to obtain a desirable CFO role in an increasingly competitive job market. That’s when I found IMA® and its CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.

Building My Brand

The CMA helped me pull together all the threads of my career—experience at a number of companies and education at several different universities—in order to present a credential that I could easily explain to potential employers.

Whenever I needed resources, I turned to IMA. Whether it was literature on best practices to streamline the finance department, implementing ethics training programs, or improving profitability by customer, IMA always offered valuable tools for me to build my personal brand and prove my expertise in the field. I was also published in Strategic Finance, IMA’s flagship publication, which helped prove my expertise.

Finding the career path that’s right for you isn’t always easy; sometimes you have to hold a variety of jobs, move around the country, or have a family to find what you’re truly passionate about. IMA helped me on my career journey, and it can help you, too.

By Doreen Remmen, CMA, CAE

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How To Choose A New Career Path – Forbes
The Changing Role of the CFO – ACCA and IMA